Producing the Goods

Ragmans Lane Farm Apple Juice

"Ragmans Lane Farm is a 60 acre farm near Ruardean overlooking the river Wye in the Forest of Dean. We farm without the use of pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilisers.

We try to source the fruit for our apple juice locally. By paying for apples from remnant orchards we hope to preserve old fruit trees within the landscape. These orchards are largely unmanaged and have had no sprays.

We sell our apple juice locally through farmers’ markets and local retailers in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. Most of the produce from the farm is sold locally this way, cutting food miles and packaging.

We pick the fruit by hand, shaking it from the trees and collecting it in sacks. The fruit is then washed and milled, and pressed on a small Vigo press. Thirty apples to the bucket, five buckets to the bag, forty bags to the tonne. Thirty bags fill a pickup. A tonne makes 650 bottles of juice.

The apple juice is left to settle overnight before being heated to 72C in the bottle to pasteurise – this kills any harmful bacteria and increases its shelf life.

We use apple varieties such as Annie Elizabeth, Cox, Blenheim Orange, Newton Wonder and Bramley to blend sweet, medium and dry juices – no sugar is added."

This is a farm with a difference, experimenting with different forms of intensive sustainable agriculture that supports 4 workers. Other farm enterprises include vegetable box schemes, willow cultivation, comfrey liquid fertilisers, Shii-take mushroom logs, charcoal, animal husbandry, courses in sustainable agriculture and cider and apple juice weekends.

Contact: Ragman's Lane Farm, Lower Lydbrook, Glos, GL17 9PA
+44(0)1594 860244, e-mail: info [at] ragmans.co.uk
<www.ragmans.co.uk>